Burnout is defined as physical and emotional exhaustion caused by chronic stress. There are three components of burnout:
- Exhaustion – physical, emotional, and mental fatigue such that you believe have nothing more to give
- Depersonalization – feeling detached and disconnected from others
- Lack of a sense of accomplishment – absence of personal achievement, feeling ineffective and unproductive
Signs of burnout include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Poor sleep
- Difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness
- Mood changes – irritability, low mood, anxiety
- Physical symptoms – headaches, body aches
- Negative attitude towards colleagues or job
- Decreased productivity
- Poor job performance
We often think about burnout in relation to job stress, but what about burnout and motherhood? Motherhood is the act of raising a child, and it is A LOT of work. Mothers juggle so many roles and responsibilities. Moms are chefs, chauffeurs, personal stylists, tutors, referees, and more. The work is never-ending. The motherhood “shift” runs from early morning to late night. There are no breaks or paid vacations. Burnout is an occupational hazard when it comes to mothering, and mothers may experience some of these same signs. So, how do we prevent mommy burnout?
Here are 5 tips for preventing mommy burnout:
- Acknowledge the truth
Parenting is hard. Children do not come with instruction manuals, so we learn “on the job.” Some days are good, and others are pretty rough. Somehow, our children survive and even thrive despite our mistakes. There are no perfect kids and no perfect parents. We should strive to our best; but when we don’t, we need to get up, dust ourselves off, and aim to do better the next day.
- Adopt a healthy mommy mindset
Mindset, a term coined by Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol S. Dweck, refers to a person’s set of beliefs and attitudes that determines his interpretation and response to life’s hardships. With a fixed mindset, one believes you either have the talent or you don’t, emphasizes perfection, and avoids challenges. We all need to maintain a growth mindset. With a growth mindset, one emphasizes mastery, acquiring new skills, and embracing failures as opportunities to try a different strategy.
- Practice real self-care
Self-care is a popular buzzword these days, but it’s so much more than spa days. It’s choosing to create healthy boundaries. It means saying “no” to overextending yourself or your children. It requires that you make your health and well-being a priority; you can’t pour from an empty cup.
With all the things moms have to do, it is easy to get lost in the busyness of the day. Sometimes we literally need to press PAUSE. Stop! Sit for a moment. Refocus your thoughts. Then breathe. Breathe slowly and intentionally. Enjoy the calmness that ensues.
We are meant to live in relationship with others. Healthy relationships fulfill, inspire, and encourage us. Build your mommy tribe. Surround yourself with women who love and support you, accept your authentic self, and don’t pass judgement but challenge you to live better.